Company News

Namibia graft body wants to interview son of Hu

* Namibia corruption body wants scanner deal information

* Three arrested over alleged graft

JOHANNESBURG, July 24 (Reuters) - Namibia’s Anti-Corruption Commission has requested an interview with the son of Chinese leader Hu Jintao to glean information about a deal involving a Chinese scanner company, the head of the anti-graft body said on Friday.

Until last year Hu Haifeng, the only son of the Chinese president, was chief executive of scanner manufacturing company Nuctech which secured a $55.3 million contract to deliver x-ray scanning equipment to Namibia.

The commission said three people, two Namibians and a Chinese national, were arrested earlier this month on fraud, bribery and corruption charges in connection with the scanner deal.

Paulus Noa, director of the commission, said it had requested an interview with Hu and senior Nuctech management through the company’s Namibian lawyer.

“We would like an interview with him to establish some information from him as the (former) head of the company. If he is not available, senior managers of the company should avail themselves so that we could have discussions with them,” Noa said in a telephone interview from Windhoek.

Noa said Hu was not a suspect but would be able to give evidence.

Nuctech and Namibia’s finance ministry signed an agreement for the supply of scanning equipment in May last year, The Namibian newspaper reported on its website.

Nuctech in Beijing was not immediately available for comment.

Under the agreement, the ministry had to pay $12.8 million while the remainder of the cost of the scanning equipment was to be financed through a Chinese government loan.


In March this year, Namibian company Teko Trading invoiced Nuctech for consulting services in connection with the transaction and the following month Nuctech paid the firm around $4.2 million, The Namibian said.

Namibia’s High Court has ordered the assets of the three arrested people to be frozen. They were named as Teko directors Teckla Lameck, who is Namibia’s Public Service Commissioner, her business partner Kongo Mokaxwa and Chinese citizen Yang Fan -- Nuctech’s Africa representative.

Earlier this week, two Chinese portals -- Sina Corp. SINA.O and Inc NTES.O -- carried translated reports on the investigation, citing foreign media, without mentioning Hu's son. The channel on which the reports were carried were briefly inaccessible, and the reports had been removed when access was restored.

A NetEase spokesperson said he did not know the reason for the channel outage, while a Sina spokesperson could not be reached for comment. (Additional reporting by James Pomfret in Beijing and Melanie Lee in Shanghai; Editing by Ralph Boulton and Louise Ireland)